Parents were outraged to learn that school officials forced their sons to apologize to their female classmates for rape. The most disturbing part was that the school admitted the boys had done nothing wrong.
A school faced a backlash after educators forced male students to apologize to female classmates for sexual assaults that they have never committed. Australia’s Brauer College in Victoria ignited an international firestorm not only for enacting a social justice seminar but also its response in the aftermath.
The Daily Mail reports that the school held an assembly in which boys aged 12 and 13 were forced to stand up in front of their female peers and apologize to all the girls and women of the world. The boys were directed to use the symbolic gesture to atone for sexual assaults, which have nothing to do with them, committed by other men they do not know.
Understandably, many of the boys felt “mortified” to have been treated by their own teachers and school officials as depraved criminals responsible for sex crimes against women. However, principal Jane Boyle’s response to the psychological harm and sex discrimination the school imposed on the young students was more disturbing.
“This week, at a whole school assembly, Brauer College discussed the topic of respect for woman and the importance of bystander behaviour and speaking up to report incidents of inappropriate behaviour,” Boyle stated. “As part of this discussion, boys were asked to stand as a symbolic gesture of apology for the behaviours of their gender that have hurt or offended girls and women. In retrospect, while well-intended, we recognise that this part of the assembly was inappropriate.”
Boyle dismissed the seriousness of holding innocent students accountable for serious crimes, turning the focus toward female victims apart from those who received the apology. Unlike their female peers, the boys received no apology from their principal or the school officials involved in their mistreatment.
Parents have remained indignant about their sons being treated like sexual predators, some of whom didn’t even understand why they were apologizing. Nicole Daniels explained that her son, Craig, was one of the students forced to apologize, adding that he was humiliated and confused. Another mother, Rebecca Croft, says she immediately called the school to complain but was brushed off.
“What they’ve made the boys do, they’ve labelled and categorised them into the same category as a perpetrator and a rapist when these boys have done nothing wrong,” Daniels said.
“I was just absolutely horrified about my children having to stand up and apologise for something on behalf of their gender they have no control over,” Croft said. “My 12-year-old has no idea about rape and sexual assault and he was made to apologise and he doesn’t understand why.”
A 12-year-old student identified only as Levi explained that he didn’t even know the girls to whom he was directed to apologize. He feels like he’s done something wrong even though he hasn’t.
“They told us to stand up and turn to a girl in our class and say sorry,” Levi said. “I don’t think it’s okay to be sexually assaulted. I felt a bit under pressure to stand up and if I didn’t I felt like I was a bad person.”
Adding yet an even more disturbing level, the school was accused of identifying female students, without their permission, who had been victims of sexual crimes so that the boys could direct their apologies to them. If true, this move further victimized the girls and could have serious consequences.
“I had girls behind me crying because they’d basically been exposed to the entire school and we had to apologise for stuff we didn’t actually do,” a student named Vini said.
Despite the logic behind the assembly, the female students had the privilege of not having to apologize for the fraud, robbery, and drug crimes that their sex commits at a far higher rate than men do.
With social justice demanding that white people atone for the sins of their predecessors, it makes sense that boys would be required to apologize for assaults they’ve never committed. Of course, this sets a dangerous precedent for injustice, treating innocent individuals as inherently evil and exacting punishment for wrongs over which they have no control.
The school is not only damaging the psyche of the boys by treating them as sexual predators but it’s directly discriminating against them, proving once again that social justice only exasperates injustice.